Recently, both the broad sheets and the tabloids came out with the news that there was an order issued by a known national public official in the presence of an also known local government figure in the also known “Jueteng Republic.” The order was clear and direct: “Stop it!” And the answer was “What is there to stop?” There is either a big mystery or a huge trickery in the dialogue, viz., neither party seemed to know what was the issue. The truth however is that both perfectly knew what the issue is.
Translation: Get rid of jueteng in the province, in the region – said the official. There is no jueteng to stop in the province, in the region – said two high ranking/gun bearing local authorities. I have the papelitos to prove there is jueteng in the place – said the name official. There is only legal STL here – said the same authorities. I am not joking about this – was the final say of the official. End of the story. But finished, it is not.
Every Tomas, Diko, and Henry knows that there is well thriving and much profitable jueteng in the country – particularly in Luzon. They also know who are the infamous Gambling Lords as well as their favorite collaborators in the City/Municipality, Province, and Region. But only the local government officials plus local police authorities – who are eminent jueteng beneficiaries – do not know. This is a truly old and big joke in the country.
But wait! Something new seems to be taking place. There is a new DILG Secretary. He has good credentials not only as a person but also as a public official. He is not only well cognizant of the long-going plague of jueteng in the Philippines; he also appears to be decided to put a stop to it. He has all the authority and competence to get right of it and thus free the poor from its exploitation. And this he can readily do because jueteng is a well widespread illegal numbers’ game – plus the sordid fact that it is a fertile source of graft and corrupt practices in the government.
Question: Will he succeed? Answer: He can and will because he does not only have the authority but also his able subordinates to do the job. Question: How will he do it? Answer: He has simply to will and do it. Question: Will he be supported by his chief-in-command? Answer: Well, this remains to be seen.
There is one composite disturbing phenomenon that is long since happening in the Philippines – particularly after Martial Law. These: The proliferation of both so called “legal” and illegal gambling in the country, the promotion of the Gambling Culture among the Filipinos, the affirmation of the vices of greed among the old and the young.